« AnteriorContinuar »
And fhe is dead, flander'd to death by villains;
ANT. Hold you content; What, man! I know them, yea,
And what they weigh, even to the utmoft fcruple:
LEON. But, brother Antony,
ANT. Come, 'tis no matter; Do not you meddle, let me deal in this. D. PEDRO. Gentlemen both, we will not wake your patience.
2 Scambling, i. c. fcrambling. The word is more than once ufed by Shakspeare. See Dr. Percy's note on the firft fpeech of the play of K. Henry V. and likewife the Scots proverb, "It is well ken'd your father's fon was never a Scambler." A Scambler in its literal fenfe, is one who goes about among his friends to get a dinner, by the Irish called a cofherer. STEEVEns.
3 Jhow outward hideousness, ] i. e. what in King Henry V. A& III. fc. vi. is called
a horrid fuit of the camp." STEEVENS.
we will not wake your patience. ] This conveys a fentiment that the speaker would by no means have implied, That the patience of the two old men was not exercised, but afleep, which upbraids them for infenfibility under their wrong. Shak speare muft have wrote:
we will not wrack
i. c. destroy your patience by tantalizing you.
This emendation is very specious, and perhaps is right; yet the present reading may admit a congruous meaning with lefs difficulty than many other of Shakspeare's expreffions.
My heart is forry for your daughter's death;
LEON. My lord, my lord,
I will not hear you.
Brother, away: 'I will be heard;
Or fome of us will fmart for it.
[Exeunt LEONATO and ANTONIO.
D. PEDRO. See, fee; here comes the man we went to seek..
CLAUD. Now, fignior! what news!
BENE. Good day, my lord.
D. PEDRO. Welcome, fignior: You are almost come to part almoft a fray.
The fame phrafe occurs in Othello:
The old men have been both very angry and outrageous; the prince tells them that he and Claudio will not wake their patience; will not any longer force them to endure the prefence of those whom, though they look on them as enemies, they cannot relift.
Wake, I believe, is the original word. The ferocity of wild beafts is overcome by not fuffering them to fleep. We will not wake your patience, therefore means, we will forbear any further provocation. HENLEY.
Thou had it been better have been born a dog,
5 Brother, away: -] The old copies, without regard to metre, read
Come, brother, away, &c.
I have omitted the useless and redundant word -come. STEEVENS,
6 to part almoft] This fecond almost appears like a cafual infertion of the compofitor. As the fenfe is complete without it, I wish the omiflion of it had been licenfed by either of the ancient copies. STEEVENS. VOL. VI.
CLAUD. We had like to have had our two nofes fnapped off with two old men without teeth.
D. PEDRO. Leonato and his brother: What think'ft thou? Had we fought, I doubt, we fhould have been too young for them.
BENE. In a falfe quarrel there is no true valour. I came to feek you both.
CLAUD. We have been up and down to feek thee; for we are high-proof melancholy, and would fain have it beaten away: Wilt thou ufe thy wit?
BENE. It is in my fcabbard; Shall I draw it? D. PEDRO. Doft thou wear thy wit by thy fide? CLAUD. Never any did fo, though very many have been befide their wit. I will bid thee draw, as we do the minstrels;' draw, to pleasure us.
D. PEDRO. As I am an honeft man, he looks
pale: Art thou fick, or angry?
CLAUD. What! courage, man! What though care kill'd a cat, thou haft mettle enough in thee to kill care.
BENE. Sir, I fhall meet your wit in the career, an you charge it against me:-I pray you, choose another fubject.
CLAUD. Nay, then give him another staff; this laft was broke cross. 7
I will bid thee draw, as we do the minstrels ;] An allufion perhaps to the itinerant fword-dancers. In what low estimation minstrels were held in the reign of Elizabeth, may be feen from Stat. Eliz. 39. C. iv. and the term was probably used to denote any fort of vagabonds who amufed the people at particular feafons.
6 What though care kill'd a cat,] This is a proverbial expreffion. See Ray's Proverbs. DOUCE.
7 Nay, then give him another faff; &c.] An allufion to tilting. See note, As you Like it, A& III. fc. iv. WARBURTON.
D. PEDRO. By this light, he changes more and more; I think, he be angry indeed.
CLAUD. If he be, he knows how to turn his girdle.
BENE. Shall I speak a word in
BENE. You are a villain; - I jeft not: - I will make it good how you dare, with what you dare, and when you dare: Do me right, or I will proyour cowardice. You have kill'd a fweet lady,
8 to turn his girdle.] We have a proverbial fpeech, If he be angry, let him turn the buckle of his girdle. But I do not know its original or meaning. JOHNSON.
A correfponding expreffion is to this day used in Ireland If he be angry, let him tie up his brogues. Neither proverb, I believe, has any other meaning than this: If he is in a bad humour, let him employ himself till he is in a better.
Dr. Farmer furnishes me with an inftance of this proverbial expreffion as used by Claudio, from Winwood's Memorials, fol. edit. 1725. Vol. I. p. 453. See letter from Winwood to Cecyll, from Paris, 1602. about an affront he received there from an Englishman: I faid what I fpake was not to make him angry. He replied, if I were angry, I might turn the buckle of my girdle behind me." So likewife. Cowley On the Government of Oliver Cromwell: 66 The next month he fwears by the living God, that he will turn them out of doors, and he does fo in his princely way of threatening, bidding them turne the buckles of their girdles behind them." STEEVENS.
Again, in Knavery in all Trades, or the Coffee Houfe, 1664. fign. Nay, if the gentleman be angry, let him turn the buckles of his girdle behind him." REED.
Large belts were worn with the buckle before, but for wrestling the buckle was turned behind, to give the adverfary a fairer grasp at the girdle. To turn the buckle behind, therefore, was a challenge. HOLT WHITE,
9 Do me right,] This phrase occurs in Juftice Silence's fong in King Henry IV. P. II. A& V. fc. iii. and was the ufual form of challenge to pledge a bumper toaft in a bumper. See note on the foregoing pallage. STEEVENS.
and her death fhall fall heavy on you: Let me hear
CLAUD. Well, I will meet you, fo I may have good cheer.
D. PEDRO. What, a feaft? a feaft?
CI AUD. I'faith, I thank him; he hath bid me to a calf's-head and a capon; the which if I do not carve moft curioufly, fay, my knife's naught-Shall I not find a woodcock too?*
BENE. Sir, your wit ambles well; it goes eafily. D. PEDRO. I'll tell thee how Beatrice prais'd thy wit the other day: I faid, thou hadst a fine wit; True, fays fhe, a fine little one: No, faid I, a great wit; Right, fays fhe, a great grofs one: Nay, faid I, a good wit; Juft, faid fhe, it hurts no body: Nay, faid I, the gentleman is wife; Certain, faid fhe, a wife gentleman: Nay, faid I, he hath the tongues; That I believe, faid fhe, for he fwore a thing to me on Monday
bid —] i. e. invited. So, in Titus Andronicus, A& I.
"I am not bid to wait upon this bride.".
2 Shall I not find a woodcock too?] A woodcock, being fuppofed to have no brains, was a proverbial term for a foolish fellow. The London Prodigal, 1605. and other comedies. MALONE.
A woodcock, means one caught in a fpringe; alluding to the plot against Benedick. So, in Hamlet, fc. ult.
Why, as a woodcock to my own springe, Ofrick.” Again, in Love's Labour's Loft, A& IV. fc. iii. Biron fays"four woodcocks in a difh." DOUCE.
3 — a wife gentleman :] This jeft depending on the colloquial ufe of words is now obscure, perhaps we should read a wife gentleman, or man wife enough to be a coward. Perhaps wife gentleman was in that age ufed ironically, and always flood for Jilly fellow. JOHNSON.
We ftill ludicrously call a man deficient in understanding — a wife-acre. STEEVENS.